Albion chairman Tony Bloom visited one of the club's supporters groups earlier this week for a question and answer session with fans.
Around 60 members of North West Sussex Seagulls attended the event, prior to the meeting Mr Bloom met up with a reporter from the Brighton & Hove Independent - a weekly newspaper available across the city every Friday. Today's edition features a two-page spread on the interview with Mr Bloom - an extract of which is reproduced here on seagulls.co.uk:
Q. The summer ended with the appointment of Oscar. That was quite a leftfield choice wasn’t it?
A. Not as far as I was concerned. We wanted someone who could come in and continue with the same style of play as the players were used to. The average time a Championship manager stays in their job is about 15 months, so in a sense I am always thinking about who we might bring in. I started off with a list of about 50 names of potential managers but that got whittled down to a few and Oscar stood out. He has excellent credentials from his time at Barcelona and in Israel and when we met we got on really well. I was very impressed with his enthusiasm and passion and I did not have to sell the Albion to him. He was excited about what we could achieve here. The only thing which really went against him was that he had not played or managed in English football but I am confident I made the right choice and hope Oscar will be here for a long time. He was definitely the best person for the job.
Q. Surely that makes it difficult for him in terms of identifying signings. Is he in charge of player recruitment?
A. I think people underestimate how much he knows about football in this country. His knowledge of players is exceptional. Not a single player will join this club without his say so and although we have a scouting team which identifies potential targets, Oscar will watch DVDs of them playing and unless he is 100 per cent happy that they will fit into his system, we won’t move on to the next step of trying to sign them. Oscar will always have the final say on new players joining the first team squad.
Q. How involved will he be with the new academy set up and will the Albion try and learn from his time at Barca?
A. Oscar’s job is running the first team. However, what we do want is to have an environment where all the teams, from the senior team down through the youth squads, all play the same system. We want to produce players who are comfortable on the ball and it is important to have someone at the top who shares that vision. The new training facility is going to be amazing and we hope it will help attract the best talent in Sussex to the cub.
Q. A lot is being made of the restrictions of Financial Fair Play. Would you have liked the opportunity to bankroll big signings or was self-sufficiency always the plan?
A. Sustainability has always been our aim and as a club we are always looking for ways to increase our revenues but as it is we will still be losing millions each year while we are in the Championship. Financial Fair Play is not perfect but it will hopefully address some issues and stop wage inflation. We think it is the right way to go. It might make the gap between the Premier League and Championship bigger but I don’t think it will stop the clubs who get promoted being able to compete and stay up. I can’t guarantee we will make the Premier League but that is the aim. What we do have is solid foundations, and if we do get up we will be well prepared.
Q. Lastly, some fans are worried that with the all the off the pitch investment it could be that the Albion are becoming more and more an attractive option for potential buyers. How do you see your long-term relationship with the club?
A. I started watching the Albion at the age of six when my granddad was vice-chairman. There are highs and lows in being chairman, the club is in my blood and I am thoroughly enjoying the role. I envisage being Chairman for a good while yet.
To read the full interview pick up a copy of the Brighton & Hove Independent - which has recently revamped its Albion coverage and now boasts a weekly match preview, in-depth statistics on a chosen player, the latest in its growing list of Seagulls cult heroes and all the latest news from The Amex and Albion in the Community. To find out where you can pick up your free copy of The Brighton & Hove Independent, click here.*